Please note that I received his via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
I had a hard time with this one. I think the back and forth of the story-lines, Cookie being "fat" and Cookie afterwards being "skinny" just made the flow of this book slow to a crawl. We also had to keep re-reading the same point made over and over again. I also thought Cookie's relationship (she's 19) with an older man (he's 31) did not read as loving or even romantic, it was just messed up the whole way through. I also didn't like the resolution between her and her supposed best friend Thomas, he was a jerk and a user who didn't stand up for her at all. DeVos tries to wrap things up in a nice tidy bow, it just didn't really work.
So I was initially intrigued by the premise of this novel. We have a young woman (Cookie) who is the daughter of a well known model who has struggled with her weight for a number of years. When she has an awful experience trying to fly and is forced to buy a second seat she decides that she is over having to deal with being treated as less than due to her size. Deciding to join a weight loss company (think Jenny Craig but called NutriNation) she finally starts to lose the weight. However, she has a harder time putting to rest a lot of things she has carried with her.
Cookie Vonn is dealing with her first year at college and is off to interview a well known fashion designer, Gareth Miller. Newly skinny, she meets Gareth on a plane and does her best to resist him. When he offers her an opportunity to design clothes with him she ping pongs between being with him and avoiding her past.
I honestly don't know about Cookie. I was meh on her for most of this book. Probably because she has a lot of issues that I don't think are worked out very well in the end. She had an absentee mother and father who sound like the worst. A stepfather who is creepy. And a solid grandmother. Until her best friend Thomas ditched her for someone awful, she seemed to be doing alright. I just didn't buy that the girl who are introduced to in this book would be so foolish to get involved with Gareth, there is no substance there at all.
Speaking of Gareth, I was bored of reading about the lifestyles of the rich and famous (the "Skinny" chapters) with her and Gareth flying everywhere and her being hot for him. I wanted to actually read more about design, the history of fashion, some more descriptions of clothing that Cookie was making. The fashion for the most part takes a back seat.
The other characters don't work at all either. Cookie's parents are barely in this, but the backstory to them doesn't work very well. Things are also left hanging between Cookie and her parents too so we don't even get a resolution.
I loathed Thomas. Sorry. All of the mess that went down between him and Cookie, I think that her grandmother telling her to keep taking the high road was nonsense. She was wronged and even arrested (mild spoiler) cause of his actions. He chooses to be with someone who dismisses Cookie and calls her Cankles. His entire actions shows that he doesn't care about her at all. I was fine with him disappearing in the "Skinny" chapters until he shows his face again.
We get some other minor characters that don't really sing for me at all.
The writing didn't really work for me in the "Skinny" sections. In the "Fat" chapters with Cookie finishing up her last year of high school and dealing with the loss of her best friend to a new nemesis, I felt that book was more authentic for me as a reader. If deVos could have found a way to make the two versions of Cookie work together, this would have been a different book.
The flow was not good. I don't even know what to say. Thank goodness for the chapter headings telling me where we were in Cookie's personal journey cause I would have been lost. Sometimes it is better to tell a story through chronologically. This one maybe would have worked better that way.
The locations of this book are Phoenix and New York and some other "exotic" locations. I didn't really get a sense of any of the cities. I would have liked the cities, especially Cookie's hometown and New York coming more alive via the narration.
This book reads as New Adult to me too by the way. And I usually cannot get into those types of books very well.
The end was....well it happened. I cannot begin to guess what is next for Cookie.